This page said

The /t/ is optionally silent when it follows /n/ and precedes a vowel sound, /r/ (including all r-controlled vowels) or a syllabic /l/.

do you native speakers say "don't ask" as /doʊnæsk/?

  • Your question reminds me of this song. (Yes, don't ask often gets a "silent t".)
    – J.R.
    May 2, 2016 at 2:20
  • 1
    "Don't ask don't tell policy", I hear only one t sound.
    – user24743
    May 2, 2016 at 3:18
  • 2
    There's going to be a lot of variation on this - even in the US, between different regions, and even different settings. I could pronounce it one way to my boss and the other way to my friends at a bar.
    – John Feltz
    Nov 29, 2016 at 3:29

3 Answers 3


I am a native speaker of a very general General American and I would say /doʊnʔæsk/ in all cases regardless of formality of speech (I always glottalize /t/ syllable-finally). I might not even understand /doʊnæsk/ if the context didn't make it clear, and certainly it sounds excessively colloquial to me. I never omit /t/ after a nasal; "banter" will have the strong aspirated /t/ even in casual speech. You can't go wrong by pronouncing the t.


Being Australian I tend to use a lot of slang in my general conversations. In this case, I would utilise the latter, simply because it rolls of the tongue better. In formal situations though in which I am paying attention to my speech, I would say the former.

  • 1
    :) before someone downvoted you - there is no former or latter in the question.
    – tum_
    Jul 1, 2016 at 13:45

I think this is an accent thing.

I'm also Australian, and notice many people drop the "t" in this situation.

However, interestingly it seems to only be after _on't words, and not _an't words.

For example, "don't ask" becomes "doun ask", "won't ask" becomes "woun ask", but "can't ask" becomes "carnt ask" - I suppose because can is the opposite of can't - so silence on the t would lead to confusion.

Though I have heard "carn ask"...again due to accent.

doesn't...this is another one that depends on accent. I've often heard it pronounced as "dozen".

Australian English is a lot more slurred and relaxed than England English though, and will differ from state to state.

In Tasmania, people often sound half asleep ;)

"Howz yuz goinn darl" (meaning how are you going darling) and "howz arz ya" (how are you) is a common greeting that I used to cringe at when I moved to Tasmania!

It is common here for complete strangers to call each other "Darl" (meaning darling) but never heard this in other states of Australia.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .